A pitch deck should be 10 – 20 slides in length. Each slide should have a purpose and be uncluttered. Only a handful of bullet points should be used at a time. A pitch deck should flow from one clear concept to another, taking the investor on a journey from why a product or service solves a problem for consumers, to why a business will provide a valuable return on investment.
Deciding what your pitch deck should look like is not easy. After all, so much depends on how effective your pitch is in telling the story of your business concept. To help you, let’s take a closer look at the visual aspect of your pitch deck and how it should look to investors.
Your Pitch Deck Design Relies on its Audience
When deciding how your presentation would look like and the slides you need in your pitch deck, you have to think about perspective. The pitch deck is not designed for you or a friend. It’s designed for potential investors. To be successful, it has to be created in a way that is pleasing and captivating to that audience.
If you are physically presenting your pitch deck to angel investors, think about how it will look to the audience. Your slides will be a certain size and distance from the investors. Take that into consideration whenever you can. Make sure that any image or text used is large enough to be seen, but not so big that it overpowers and looks amateurish.
On the other hand, your pitch deck might be designed to be viewed on a laptop or tablet. Adjust the size accordingly.
If possible, find an empty room somewhere such as on a college campus where you can get permission to try out a slide presentation. Put your slides on and then take a seat. Look at them as they pass by and think about whether they could be better from the perspective of the investor.
Don’t Go Font Crazy
A sure-fire way to signal that your pitch deck has been created by an amateur is in the font choice. Whether it’s a pitch deck, a landing page, or a self-published novel, people often make the mistake of choosing unusual fonts.
They believe these text fonts are “eye-catching”, but what is most important is that a font is easy to read. Stick to classic fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Garamond, Courier or similar, in order to keep things easy to read and not outlandish.
Lastly, don’t go into font overload by mixing or matching too many fonts. You might think this looks interesting, but it’s more than likely to be just distracting. Keep your fonts consistent as much as possible. Sometimes, you might be able to choose a different font for headings, but once you’ve used a font for one heading, do it for all of them.
Uniformity in font choice is essential. Remember, your pitch is about conveying information. You want to make design choices about your pitch deck that keep investors’ attention on your pitch and not on how pretty or outlandish your slides are.
A Pitch Deck Should Be Clean
By “clean”, I don’t mean that the language or images used need to be family-friendly (though they probably should be!). By “clean”, I mean that the design of each slide should be uncluttered.
Think about each slide as a painting. You want to draw the eye of the viewer to one object or subject, but if you include too many other “things” on a slide, the focus of your slide gets buried by the noise.
If possible, keep the number of items on any one slide to a minimum. Two or three bullet points will suffice. If you’re presenting images of your product, put them center stage, don’t bury them in descriptive text.
The Color of Your Pitch Deck
Just as font choice can overwhelm your audience, so too can the palette of your presentation slides. “Palette” simply refers to your color use.
There are three aspects to the way you can use color in a pitch deck. They are background, text, and images.
The background and text colors are intimately connected. For example, if the background of your slides is white, you can’t use a white text color as you would never see it. Likewise, if you had a blue background, the green text would be difficult to read.
Black text on a white background or white text on a black background works fine. However, if you want to be a little more creative, you could include the colors of your branding in your slides. For example, Facebook has a well-known pitch deck that had a blue background with white text, mimicking the look of Facebook itself.
When using images, many of the same principles apply.
Whatever color choices you use, make sure that they are easy to read at all times and not too busy. The last thing you want investors to do is to associate your products with eye strain!
Lastly, you can alter your color usage from section to section, but I would recommend limiting this. Perhaps you could change it for your financials section to make the data there stand out, but you don’t want to be continually altering the color of your pitch deck with each slide.
A Picture Says a Thousand Words
I always encourage entrepreneurs that are in the process of deciding how to start a business and ways to pitch it to use images where appropriate. Important data still needs to be presented in text, but an image such as a graph can be a far more intuitive way to present such data.
Like any part of your pitch deck, simply ensure that you aren’t cramming your deck full of unnecessary line graphs and pie charts. Use what is absolutely essential.
Your entire pitch should come in at less than 4 minutes, if possible, so when a picture says a thousand words, use it rather than speaking or writing them.
Learn More About How a Pitch Deck Should Look
I’ve written widely on the topic of pitch decks and how they should look. Much of this information is contained here on my blog. Another great resource is The DealMakers Podcast where I share the secrets of successful entrepreneurs so that you can secure the deal your business deserves.
Remember that storytelling plays a key role in fundraising. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
ACCESS THE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE